Tom Konyves is a ground breaking Canadian poet and talented video producer, who just happens to be my neighbour. If you've ever enjoyed poetry on public transit you can thank Tom who initiated the first Poetry on the Bus collaboration several decades ago in Montreal. If you appreciate poets who explore new ways to express an old form, particularly aural and video interpretations of their writing, you can thank Tom.
In 1978, Tom coined the term “videopoetry”, a genre he pioneered as a member of the Montreal avant-garde group, the Vehicule Poets. English Quebec poets including FR Scott, Irving Layton and Leonard Cohen were all part of Tom's formative circle in those early years. Today, Tom teaches screenwriting and a course in 'Word and Image' at the University of the Fraser Valley.
I first absorbed the following poem in Tom and Marlene's back yard sweetened by a bon fire, good company and Tom tilting his lines in a 'westcoast way.' I can't think of a better introduction to his creativity, playfulness and unique perspective than Lost and Found.
LOST AND FOUND
Boy meets dog. Boy loses dog.
Boy finds god. Boy loses faith.
Boy finds job. Boy loses job.
Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl.
Boy finds freedom. Boy loses innocence.
Boy finds man. Man loses boy.
Man finds love. Man loses self.
Man finds home. Man loses song.
Man finds children. Man loses wife.
Man finds gold. Man loses gold.
Man finds time. Man loses hair.
Man finds dream. Man loses dream.
Man finds laughter. Man loses time.
Man finds meaning to life. Man loses life.
Happy Father's Day to dads and their young boys who are becoming.
Lost and Found is from the collection: Sleepwalking Among Camels.
For more about Tom's view of poets writing words that breathe and skip to the end see 12 or 20 Questions with Tom Konyves.
For Tom's explanation of the history of video poetry read his explanation of his first video poem, Sympathies of War.